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Sustainability Small Grant

Round Two Applications Are Now Open July 1-September 30, 2024

Please contact sustainability@cityoftacoma.org for questions.


Sustainability Small Grant logo

Sustainability Small Grant Program

Maximum awards of up to $5,000 are available to eligible sustainability projects within Tacoma city limits. Strong grant applications will demonstrate benefits that help protect and restore our local environment, implement sustainability practices, and/or keep our city clean, safe, and livable.


Applications that also benefit our local economy, support social equity, and address the causes or impacts of climate change will be given extra consideration. Projects that help educate residents and or businesses on the environment and sustainable practices are encouraged to apply. Collaboration with other groups, organizations, and agencies is not required but is highly encouraged. First-time applicants may also be given preference.


Only not-for-profit organizations and individuals are eligible to apply. For-profit businesses are ineligible to apply.


Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be received by the Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability (OEPS), then reviewed and awarded by the Sustainable Tacoma Commission (STC). Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:


Does the project:

  • Demonstrate a clear benefit to one or more of the three Environmental Services utilities?
  • Align with sustainability goals as outlined in the City’s 2030 Climate Action Plan?
  • Provide opportunities for local partnerships and community participation?
  • Create multiple and/or long-term benefits to the Tacoma community?
  • Promote local and regional climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts?
  • Allow for measurable results and long-term, lasting success?
  • Identify a clear need for financial assistance?

Additional evaluation criteria may be considered at the discretion of the Sustainable Tacoma Commission.


Submittal Instructions:

Completed applications must be submitted by or before 11:59 p.m. on the deadline date. Submit via email to sustainability@cityoftacoma.org with the subject line “Sustainability Small Grant Application”. For other submission options or questions about the submittal process, please contact OEPS at (253) 213-2443.

Full application instructions and guidelines are included in the application form.  

(Note if clicking links in the application through a web browser ensure you open the link in a new window as your progress may not be saved).

 Round 2 Sustainability Small Grant Application  

Do you have questions or ideas for a potential project? Feel free to contact us, and we'll gladly assist you in any way possible.


Contact Us:

Office of Enviromental Policy and Sustainability (OEPS)


Phone: (253) 213-2443



For questions about the Sustainability Small Grant Program, please contact sustainability@cityoftacoma.org


For questions about the Sustainability Small Grant Program, please contact sustainability@cityoftacoma.org


For questions about the Sustainability Small Grant Program, please contact sustainability@cityoftacoma.org


Can individuals (not affiliated with an organization) apply for and receive grant funds?

Yes, anyone may apply regardless of organizational affiliation. However, individuals must be aware that the money received through this grant must be claimed on your yearly taxes. Since grant funding is only reimbursable upon completion of the project, individuals are also responsible for any up-front costs associated with the project prior to reimbursement.


Applicants are not required to carry insurance at the time of application. However, the City of Tacoma's Risk Manager will review all projects selected for funding and will determine if insurance will be required and what type(s) of insurance each organization needs. Typically, all organizations will be required to obtain Commercial General Liability insurance.


Organizations who will be working directly and exclusively with youth under the age of 17, seniors, or people with disabilities as part of the proposed project will be required to obtain Abuse & Molestation insurance. This includes programming exclusively for youth, seniors, or people with disabilities such as workshops, live virtual programming, and one-on-one programming. This does NOT include all-ages or general audience programming, or virtual programming that is completely pre-recorded where there will be no live virtual interaction.


Organizations who will be performing work on or around water that includes the ownership, maintenance, and/or use of watercraft as part of the proposed project will be required to obtain Marine General Liability insurance.


Organizations who will use owned, rented, or leased automobiles to transport youth under the age of 17, seniors and/or people with disabilities as part of the proposed project will be required to obtain Commercial Auto Liability insurance.


If the applicant is fiscally sponsored, the insurance may be held by either the sponsored group or the fiscal sponsor. If the fiscal sponsor holds the Certificate of Insurance, it will need to name both the City of Tacoma and the sponsored group as additional insured. If the sponsored group holds the Certificate of Insurance, it will need to name the City of Tacoma as additional insured.  

Previously Funded Projects




  •  “Center for Food Preservation Arts” Hal Meng
  • “Green Stormwater Outreach Materials” Pierce Conservation District 
  • Tacoma Waterfront Walk” Downtown On the Go Tacoma On the Go 
  • “Tool Lending Expansion” Tacoma Tool Library  


  •  “Peck Depave and Rain Garden” Central Neighborhood Council  
  •  “Pierce County Trails Day and Conference” Forevergreen Trails 




  •  “Curbside Tool Lending” Tacoma Tool Library
  • “Farmers Market Single-Use Waste Reduction” Tacoma Farmers Market
  • “Pierce County Trails Day” Forever Green Trail
  • “Seed to Shelf & Table 2021” Center for Food Preservation Arts
  •  “Tacoma Community Waters Unit, Phase 1” IslandWood 


  •  “Blueberry Park Beautification Project” Safe Streets Campaign
  • “FIG Preserve” Food is Free Washington
  •  “Waste Reduction By Supporting The Local Repair Economy” Zero Waste Washington 


  •  “Education Workshop and Tool Lending” Tacoma Tool Library
  • Jason Lee Solar 2020” Jason Lee Middle School
  •  “Tacoma Community Waters Unit Phase 1” IslandWood 

Earth Day 2020 Artist Application

  •  “Gentle Giant” Lynn Di Nino 
  •  Permculture Food Forest” Ulyssess Marti
  •  Wingin’ It” Katrina Taylor 




  •  “Building the Ferry Community Garden” Ferry Street Community Garden
  • “Gardens for the People” Food is Free Tacom
  • “Idea Bike Lockers” IDEA High School
  •  “Northwest Green Home Tour Tacoma” Northwest EcoBuilding Guild 
  • “Pilot Education Series” Tacoma Tool Library 
  •  “Tacoma-South Sound Mini Maker Faire” IQuark  


  •  Empowering Environmental Sustainability through Cycling” Second Cycle Community Cycle Center 
  • “Environmental Justice Camp for Girls” Tacoma Urban League 
  • “Food Rescue Program” St. Leo Food Connection
  •  Sound End Roundabout Rain Gardens” Gritty City Committee 
  •  “Tacoma RAINmakers” RAIN Incubator  


  •  “Alling Park Demonstration Pollinator Garden” Safe Streets
  • “Gardens for the People 2020” Food is Free Project Tacoma
  • “Guerrilla Canning and Preserving to Prepare” Center for Food Preservation Acts
  • Pierce County Trails Conference” ForeverGreen Trails
  •  “Wellspring IV Conference” Wellspring IV  


  •  “Living and Giving Garden” Tacoma Community College Sustainability Action Committee 
  • “Tacoma Ocean Fest 2020” Tacoma Ocean Fest
  •  Tree Stewards Training in Spanish and Korean” Tacoma Tree Foundation 
  •  “Viet Huong Community Garden Shelter” Viet Huong Community Garden  




  • "Food Rescue Program” St. Leo Food Connection
  • “Pierce County Master Gardeners” Pierce County Master Gardeners – Various Programs  
  • “Salishan Children’s Summer Eco-Camp” Tacoma Housing Development Group
  • Tacoma Ocean FestFoss Waterway Seaport
  •  “Tacoma Tool Library Sustainability Program” Tacoma Tool Library 
  •  “The South Sound Green Tour” Northwest EcoBuilding Guild
  •  Viet Huong Community Garden” Pierce Conservation District
  •  “Zombie Guacamole: Curriculum Training” Washington Green Schools 


  •  “Business Sustainability Conference” Happy Fox Studio 
  • “Establishment of Edible Permaculture” Lincoln Community Garden 
  • “Sequoia Grove” Joshua Stovall
  • “UWT Waste Reduction Campaign” University of Washington Tacoma 


  • Charlotte’s Blueberry Park” Rebuilding Together South Sound
  • “Community Food Preservation” Center for Food Preservation Arts
  • “Grit City Co-Op Initial Incubation Phase” Grit City Co-op


  •  “Climate Change Impacts on Zooplankton” World Vets
  •  Community Tree Stewards Pilot Program” Tacoma Tree Foundation
  • “Fix-It-Fairs” Zero Waste Washington
  • Managing Stormwater in Washington ConferenceNorthwest Environmental Business Council
  •  “Our Neighborhood Garden” Teresa Lacy
  •  Salishan Eco-Camp & Science ClubSalishan Association


  •  SWANA Symposium Grant” Solid Waste Association of North America Evergreen Chapter


Frequently Asked Questions


Can I start my project before being awarded?

Applicants may begin their project whenever they would like. However, any expenses made prior to the grant award date will not be eligible for reimbursement. The award date will be clearly indicated on your award letter, and will also determine the timeline for contracting and project completion.


How often can I apply for and/or receive a Sustainability Small Grant?
Individuals or organizations may only be awarded one Sustainability Small Grant in a 12 month period. However, if an application is not accepted or approved and no funding is awarded, that individual or organization may re-apply again as soon as they like. If a grant is awarded, but the project is later delayed or cancelled and no funding was distributed, that individual or organization may also re-apply as soon as they like.


What can grant money be used for?
Grant money can be applied toward costs identified in the approved project budget, submitted with your grant application. These costs may include materials, transportation, equipment rental, and other approved expenses. The grant may not be used to fund computers, digital cameras, video cameras, or other portable electronics. The grant may not be used to fund alcohol or drug purchases. Please reference the Sustainability Small Grant application for a detailed list of prohibited expenses and activities.


How do I submit invoices for reimbursement?
Effective in 2021, all grant recipients will need to create an account and become a “vendor” in SAP Ariba - online software the City of Tacoma now uses for all contracting and funding transactions. This process will take place during the initial contracting phase of your grant award. If you or your fiscal sponsor have conducted business with the City of Tacoma in the past, you may already be signed up as a vendor in Ariba. All invoices must be directly uploaded to Ariba by the grant recipient or fiscal sponsor. No invoices sent via email will be accepted. City staff will be available to answer questions and assist with the process of getting set-up in Ariba after grants have been awarded.


I have submitted my invoice through Ariba. When can I expect to receive the funds?

Once you have submitted an invoice through Ariba, funds will be distributed 30 days from the invoice date. Funds will be distributed directly to the individual or organization listed on the Sustainability Small Grant contract.


I do not have regular access to a computer or the internet. Can I still apply?
Yes. Office of Environmental Policy staff will be available to assist and explore accommodations that allow all community members to apply and navigate the award process. If you have difficulty with the application process or require accommodation, please contact us at sustainability@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5172 prior to submitting your application.


What if I do not complete my project within one year of my grant award date?
Sustainability Small Grant contracts are only valid for one year following your award date. If you do not complete your project before your contract expires, invoices received after that date will not be eligible for reimbursement. Contract extensions may be available on a case-by-case basis, but justification for why an extension is needed must be communicated to City of Tacoma staff members prior to your contract expiration date. 


What does it mean for a project to benefit Environmental Services’ three utilities (Storm Water, Solid Waste, and Wastewater)?
Projects that benefit one or more of the three utilities may help protect and restore our natural resources, or help keep our city clean, safe, and livable. Stormwater benefits are those that help to keep pollution from flowing from the built environment untreated into lakes, streams, rivers, and Puget Sound. Solid Waste benefits include reducing waste generation and promoting landfill diversion through recycling, composting, or waste prevention. Wastewater is what goes down our drains and needs to be treated before re-entering the natural environment. Wastewater benefits would help ensure that our sewer systems are properly cared for, and that only correct items find their way down the drain.


What does it mean for a project to promote regional climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts?
Projects that address climate change either help our community adapt to the impacts or mitigate the causes of climate change. Most projects that address environmental sustainability issues in our community do have a connection to either climate adaptation or mitigation. Project examples that promote climate change adaptation might include installing rain gardens to reduce the risk of flooding, and planting trees to reduce the urban heat island effect. Projects that promote climate change mitigation might include promotion of public transit as a form of sustainable transportation instead of driving, or educating businesses about options to switch from natural gas to electric heating.


What does frontline communities mean?

Frontline communities tend to experience inequity in multiple ways. They tend to be underrepresented, underserved, or made vulnerable; experience lower quality of life outcomes before COVID-19; or now experience worse impacts from the COVID-19 economic and health crisis. Frontline communities also include those expected to experience the first and worst consequences of climate damage.


Who should I contact for questions about the application, program eligibility, or other information related to Sustainability Small Grants?
Contact the Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability at sustainability@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5172.